I remember like it was yesterday... The little black box of PRANG watercolors I received at Christmas when I was seven started me on a lifelong love of drawing and painting. Rendering the images of every comic book character from Mickey Mouse to Superman and Little Lulu furthered my art education. Little Golden Books, The Color Kittens, taught me the basics of mixing colors.
Then a magical experience happened! At the Jefferson Theater in downtown Beaumont, Texas (where I was born and raised), I saw Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Eagerly I awaited each new release through the years: Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp.
At age 12, I started an art notebook and bought my first oil paints. At 14, my Great Uncle, who was an architect, taught me how to draw houses and render them in Prismacolor pencils which I still use. Already caught up in the excitement of the cars of the era, I began to design my own "dream machines" influenced by the great auto illustrator Art Fitzpatrick, who did those fantastic Pontiac ads in the 50s and 60s.
My career in electrical repair with Westinghouse kept me busy, but in 1983, I decided to do an acrylic painting of the Jefferson Theater as it was "back in the day." I picked my 12th birthday, March 29nd 1955. The microfilm library of the Beaumont Enterprise provided the name of the movie playing - Twist of Fate with Ginger Rogers.
Using my friends and family for models, I also included my Dad's '55 DeSoto and my first car, a '41 Cadillac Series 75 Limo.
The project was so much fun that I wanted to do another one. The old Pig Stand #10 was perfect! Through the years, using illustration techniques of Norman Rockwell and the color of Walt Disney, I have produced a series of "MOMENTS to REMEMBER." Each of the sixteen scenes of theaters and drive-in restaurants depicts a specific day from the '50s,'60s, and '70s featuring the classic cars of the era and the fun we had "cruising" on Friday nights!
- Randy Welborn